West Tennessee Historical Society 
Serving the 21 Counties of West Tennessee 
WTHS February Meeting - Aram Goudsouzian


Aram Goudsouzian, chairman of the history department at the University of Memphis, will present his book "Down To The Crossroads: Civil Rights, Black Power and the Meredith March Against Fear." This narrative history of the civil rights movement is told through James Meredith's tumultuous 1966 march from Memphis to Jackson, MS down U.S. Hwy 51 that began as a voter-registration drive.


The journey might have drawn little national attention except that on the second day of the march, 30 miles into it, a mysterious man, a former Memphis hardware store clerk, stepped from a patch of honeysuckle along the roadway a few miles south of Hernando and shot Meredith three times with a shotgun. The man walked away, unchallenged, and was arrested later with no explanation of his motive.


Meredith was a difficult subject who frustrated journalists and civil rights leaders as unpredictable, a loner and a man that Goudsouzian calls sometimes "bizarre", thus his story had remained under-researched.


Rhodes College history professor and The Spence Wilson Chair in the Humanities, Dr. Jonathan Judaken said Goudsouzian turned an under-researched niche in the civil rights movement into a real "page turner."


Dr. Charles Crawford, on the faculty of the University of Memphis for 52 years, said the book "really captures the spirit of the march and makes you feel like you were there. It brings the people alive. You read it and you understand it. He (Goudsouzian) is one of the best writers I have ever read."


Memphis University School in the Wunderlich Auditorium.

Enter campus on Park Avenue and follow the WTHS signs.

Monday February 2 at 7 pm   


Header photo: A newsman covers Dr. Martin Luther King and others who took up the march south on Highway 51 after James Meredith was shot near Hernando in 1966. By Fred Griffith-Commercial Appeal  

WTHS March Meeting on the road in Brownsville, TN


WTHS member, Jim Emison will present the story of Elbert Williams of Brownsville, TN, who was murdered June 20, 1940. Mr. Williams was the first NAACP member in the nation known to have been killed for his civil rights work. Elbert Williams, First To Die, is the working title of Jim Emison's non-fiction book in progress, chronicling the murder, the unsuccessful efforts of the NAACP to obtain a federal civil rights prosecution, a reluctant FBI's investigation, and the U. S. Justice Department's reversal of its decision to prosecute.


Saturday March 7 at 10:00am in the Delta Room behind Backyard Barbeque 703 E Main St, Brownsville, TN


Thank you to WTHS Vice president Linda J. Higgins for selecting this interesting speaker and organizing the meeting.   


Photo: Elbert WIlliams 

In and Around Tennessee 


Evening Upstairs - Wanted: Freedom, Dead or Alive

Explore and honor the lives and legacies of Kentucky Travelers on the Underground Railroad, presented by Daryl Harris

The McCracken County Public Library, 555 Washington St., Paducah, KY  

February 26 7 pm     Free and Open to the public


The Mid South Military History and Civil War Show

Featuring: Books, Relics, Currency, Documents, Prints, Weapons, Uniforms, Photographs

February 21 - 22, 2015

Agricenter Showplace Arena

105 South Germantown Parkway, Memphis

9 - 5 Saturday and 9 - 4 Sunday

Open to the Public

Admission: Adults $10, Children 12 and under Free

Sponsored by

James R. Chalmers Camp 1312 SCV

Robert E Lee Camp 1640 SCV


Jimmy Ogle Talks and Tours

Join our Shelby County Historian for an entertaining and informational tour of the Shelby County Court House
Thursday, February 19 - 12:00 noon
Shelby County Courthouse Tour (cameras allowed!)
Meet at the Southwest Steps, Adams Avenue & Second Street

Searching for Ancestors?

The Tennessee Genealogical Society for all of Tennessee since 1954 is a great place to begin.   The Society was founded in 1952 and received its charter from the state of Tennessee in 1954. It is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization, completely staffed by volunteers. The society is presently located near Memphis in the historic area of Old Germantown at 7779 Poplar Pike, Germantown, TN 38138-5952. The Society's offices and lecture room are part of the Germantown Regional History and Genealogy Center (GRHGC), which houses a library of more than 14,000 volumes. Their mission is to acquire, preserve, and make available genealogical history and records and to publish materials relevant to Tennessee genealogy and history.


The TGS is open 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. each Tuesday and Thursday. The Society's phone number is 901-754-4300.

Please consider a donation to the WTHS. The Society is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) and any gift you make is tax deductible. As we continue to expand our goals to continue our mission, your support is important to us. Make checks payable to WTHS and mail to PO Box 111046, Memphis, TN 38111. Please contact Carol at 901.276.7154 or [email protected]  for any questions you may have regarding your gift.   

We thank you for your support. 

About Us:
     The West Tennessee Historical Society is the umbrella heritage organization for the Western Grand Division of Tennessee. Within its twenty-one counties, it supports historical programs, archives, publications, preservation, markers, museums, and other historical collections.
     The WTHS has for many decades collected historical documents and books on the history of West Tennessee. Its collections and archives have been deposited with the Special Collections Department of The University of Memphis library since 1974. These rare materials are available for use by researchers, irrespective of society membership.
West Tennessee Historical Society is a non-profit 501(c)(3) entity chartered under the laws of the state of Tennessee. WTHS activities are free and open to the public. The WTHS does not discriminate in any aspect of membership or participation on the basis of race, gender, religion, ethnicity, or national origin.
Visit our website: www.wths-tn.org

for links to information on West Tennessee History


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Become a member of the West Tennessee Historical Society


Annual Membership Levels:

Individual - $25     Institution  - $25     Family/Couple - $35    Sustaining - $50    Patron - $100     Benefactor - $250     Life  - $500    Crockett/Forrest - $1000

To find out more regarding membership levels, benefits, and activities go to http://wths-tn.org/membership/


The West Tennessee Historical Society, P.O. Box 111046, Memphis, TN 38111

Call Carol at 901.276.7154 for more information.